Hello and thank you for reading my article.
Here we go my Top ten favorite kitchen tools I feel every cook should own!
1. A Cake Tester – When I am cooking I always have a cake tester on me and I use it almost as much as my knife. You can use a cake tester to tell if a steak or piece of fish is medium rare or well done, you can also use it to tell if something is hot inside such as a meatball or crabcake. I explain exactly how you do this on my website.
2. Tongs – Cooking without a pair of tongs and a towel in my hand is to me like being on a battlefield with no gun. The obvious use of tongs is great, can’t grill without tongs! With a pair of strong tongs you can slide baking sheets closer to you so you are not sticking your arms in the oven. You can reach deep in the oven for something that may have fell, and one of my favorite things about tongs is that you can gently place a piece of chicken in the oil for frying without splattering hot oil on you.
3. Knives – My Chef’s knife is by far the knife I use the most. I always say not to go buying an entire set of knives, instead invest in a nice Chef’s knife that will last you. You can use the top edge to crack lobster or crab, you can use the flat side to smash garlic or scoop up what you have chopped.,and unless your going to be fileting fish or butchering meat a bread knife and paring knife would be all you need. There is no need to spend a lot of money on a bread knife, in fact my favorite bread knife that I solely use(dexter-russel) is a 20$ knife. It has teeth, its sharp, it has a nice grip, and its solid what more can you ask for. A paring knife will cost no more then 10$ anything more your most likely paying for a name or being ripped off.
4. Peeler – My favorite and one and only peeler I use is a Kuhn Rikon. They are made of plastic and cost 2$, I usually pick up 2 or 3 of them. They are cheaply made but are sharp and do the job well. Peelers work great not only for peeling but for shaving things very thin such as parmesan, chocolate, carrots,or cucumbers.
5. Microplane – A microplane can grate hard cheese,chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, and even zest citrus fruits for all kinds of uses. The microplane creates beautiful grated parmigianno regianno on top of a caesar salad, pasta, or risotto. The citrus zest is also very presentable for a nice topping to a cheesecake or angel food cake. One of the other benefits of a microplane is it grates much finer then a normal grater can grater, it can also be used to grate garlic, ginger, wasabi, or onions.
6. Fish Spatula – A fish spatula is a specially designed spatula to allow you to get under the skin of the fish and allow the excess oil to drain through the slits on the spatula. You can use this design to your advantage in a number of ways. Use it to be able to pickup a piece of cheesecake or pie and get underneath it so you are not damaging the visible part. You can also use it for something such as a chocolate cake where it may be dripping chocolate and the slits will prevent it from sliding.
7. Rubber Spatula – Although called a spatula I never use it to actually pickup or flip anything. However I use it for practically everything else on the planet. Folding egg whites perfectly so it does not deflate the egg whites, mixing mashed potatoes, working with chocolate, making eggs, cooking in a nonstick pan, risotto, scraping the bowl to make sure your getting every last bit out of the container. The best thing is they clean up in 2 seconds!
8. Japanese Mandoline – A dangerous but extremely useful tool. This is what all the professional’s use to create perfect brunoise, or small cubes every time. The blade is very sharp and can thinly shave or slice things. Makes beautiful shaved parmesan, you can shave garlic, carrots, ginger, cucumber, etc.. for a nice presentation.
9. Food Mill – A food mill is a tool designed to make purees such as mashed potatoes but can be used for other things as well. You crank the handle which forces the product(potatoes, carrots, beets, etc… into different sized holes. This is the way restaurants get super smooth mashed potatoes every time. I also love to use it to make cracked black pepper, for steak or mignonette for oysters.
10. Spice Grinder – A small spice grinder is something I can’t live without when cooking. When you toast and grind spices it really brings out the flavor and is very simple to do. Just take your spice mix whether it be cumin, cinnamon, or sesame seeds and put them in a dry saute pan on medium high heat. Toss continuously avoid burning which will create a bitter taste. The spice will be finished toasting when it is golden brown and/or the smell is more vibrant. Then put in the spice grinder and grind until fine. You can also use a spice grinder to grind spices with salt and use the spiced salts to season fried items when they are just coming out of the fryer(sesame salt, black pepper salt, cumin salt, list goes on and on).